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Welcome back to Part 4A: Measurements: Where Do I Apply Them? in my pattern fitting series, My Approach to Successful Pattern Fitting. If you just found my series and want to start from the beginning, you can start by reading Part1: Measuring Properly. I decided to break down this segment into 2 parts because there was so much information to cover that I didn’t want you to feel overwhelmed. If you’ve hung in there with me so far, I didn’t want you to feel as if there was so much information to digest and send you running for the hills!! Therefore, I’m breaking it down into 2 manageable parts for you. Part 4A will cover where to apply all your working measurements and Part 4B: Pattern Adjustments, will cover how to make adjustments to your pattern. Part 4B will be on the blog later this week.So far you’ve taken your measurements, added the appropriate amount ease to those measurements and determined the correct size range and silhouette pattern to use. Now it’s time to take your “working measurements” and show you where exactly measure on your patterns pieces. The focus in this part of the series is to use your “working measurements” with a multi sized pattern to find what fits as close to those measurements as possible.
I always start with checking the vertical measurements of any bodice pattern I intend to fit. I find it easier to get the pattern into alignment with your body measurements by starting in that direction. Imagine the body as being dimensional with a gridded pattern over the body. The gridded pattern is represented by your body measurements. These vertical and horizontal measurements work in a series of “checks and balances” to encompass your bodies shape. If you can always keep in mind that where ever the body tends to be more dimensional, there will be more fitting involved. I will be illustrating all of my measurements on Butterick 5300. This is a simple 1 piece pattern front and 1 piece pattern back semi-fitted blouse pattern. I will be measuring the size XS in all of my photo illustrations. It will be less confusing working with the measurements within the multi size pattern lines.
The two measurements that I find the most important to measure first are your center front and center back lengths. If these are either too long or too short, they are very difficult to correct later. When you measured your center back length, you started at the small bone at the top of your spine. Usually the pattern for a semi-fitted shirt/blouse will also start at the top of the spine in that general area. Many times if the piece is not intended to start there, it will be noted on that pattern with printed information. B5300 starts in the correct position. Measure from the seam allowance (3/8″) down to the waistline mark on the pattern. Repeat the same on the front pattern.
Lets move on to your shoulder slope. Your shoulder slope is one of those measurements in combination with your front length and side front length measurements. If your shoulder slope is in the correct alignment, these 2 measurements should be correct as well. The goal of using your traced shoulder slope to for it to be as close to the same slope as your pattern. Place your tissue pattern over your shoulder slope tracing. Make sure the center front and shoulder point at the neckline is in alignment with your shoulder slope. Trace your new slope on to your pattern and measure the length of you shoulder line. There was only a 3/16″ difference in shoulder slope. Not enough for me to alter. Check the shoulder length also.
Your shoulder slope should be corrected and checked with the following measurements. Now measure your front length and side front length on your pattern. Do the same for your side back length.
Check the front length to apex point. This is a critical area that if this point is off your garment can look unflattering. the apex point should never be at the same point at the center of your bust. The side dart should be backed away between 1″ to 1 1/2″ away and the vertical dart should be between 1/2″ to 1″ down from the apex. Also check your measurement from apex to center front doubled against your measurement.
Now that we have the pattern in alignment vertically, it’s time to focus on the horizontal measurements. To check your bust (back width) measurement, start at the center back fold and measure across the back of your pattern piece stopping at the seam allowance (5/8″). Now continue measuring at the seam allowance on the front pattern piece across to the center front. For all the following horizontal measurements, please double the measurements to get your full body working measurements.
Starting at the center back waistline of your pattern piece measure to the first dart seam line. Start again on the other side of the dart and stop at the side seam allowance. Continue measuring at the side seam allowance on the front pattern piece to the dart seam line. Continue on the other side of the dart to the center front.
Follow the same process of starting at the center back waistline of your pattern at the high hip, measuring to the dart seams and then to the “fold line”. This pattern has a slit at the side seam in this area, so I measured to the “fold line”. Continue to measure on the front at the slit “fold line” and then to the dart seam. Start again on the other side of the dart at the high hip line to the center front of the pattern.
Measure the bottom of the pattern at the seam allowance (5/8″) starting at the center back. Measure across to the “fold line”. Continue to measure starting at the “fold line” on the front pattern piece at the seam allowance (5/8″) across to the center front. This measurement will not be compared with any of your working measurements, however it’s a good idea to measure and then check to make sure it will fit.
Princess line patterns are measured in the same way except you will need to measure across both the front and side front or the back and side back to get the measurements. Once again that will give you only half of the full body measurements. Double your measurement to figure your full body working measurements.
The next 2 measurements will involve the sleeve pattern piece. Measure across the bicep of the sleeve pattern starting at the under arm seam allowance (5/8″) to the other under arm seam allowance. Also measure from the center sleeve dot at the seam allowance (5/8″) to the bicep line. This is checking your sleeve cap height measurement.
There are also other measurements to keep in mind. These are the “pattern specific” measurements which include blouse length, sleeve length and any other measurements that would apply to the pattern you’re working with other than measurements from your measurement chart.
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I hope you will find this information especially helpful as you continue on with this series. Please leave questions or comments I would love to hear from you. I hope to continue to assist you on your “Journey Back to Garment Sewing”!! Thank You All for your continued support with all the emails, kind comments, pinning on Pinterest and sharing my links with your Sewing Groups.
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